CVS Pharmacy 101

Are you new to the CVS Game? You might not think of CVS as a place to save money in your shopping venture. However, there is a system to shopping strategically at stores such as CVS and you might even end up making money! Let me help you get started by sharing how I've learned to pay little to nothing for items such as toothpaste, shampoo, razors, toothbrushes, bathroom tissue, paper towels, facial cleanser, deodorant, and so much more!

I've set this post up in a Q&A format, so I hope it answers most if not all of your questions on how CVS's coupon system works.

Q: What types of coupons can I use at CVS?
A: CVS accepts manufacturer coupons as well as store coupons. You may use 1 of each per item that you purchase. For prescription purchases, CVS will honor competitor coupons as well.

Where can I find the store coupons?
A: CVS store coupons can be acquired several ways:
  • Email: When you register your CVS card at CVS.com, you will periodically receive store coupons via email, such as $4 off your $20 purchase and others.
  • CVS Price Scanner Machine (in-store): Simply scan your CVS card at the price scanner machine in your store and coupons will print out the side for you to tear off and use. These are completely random coupons and everyone seems to get different selections.
  • CVS Reinventing Beauty Magazine: This is a magazine put out by CVS and can usually be found in the magazine racks or near the cash registers. It costs $.99 and contains multiple CVS and manufacturer coupons inside.
  • Clip-Free Monthly Coupon Booklet: You do not need to clip the coupons in this booklet in order to receive the savings, but you will need to have your cashier scan your CVS card! These booklets are usually found near the weekly fliers in-store.
Q: Does CVS offer a reward program?
A: Yes. CVS has a wonderful reward program that offers money back in the way of ExtraCare Bucks (ECB's); i.e. CVS money. Simply sign up online at www.CVS.com/ or in-store for a free CVS ExtraCare card and be sure to have your cashier scan it with every purchase. You'll earn money back just by using the card!

More on the ExtraCare Card:
Each time you use your ExtraCare card, 2% of your total out-of-pocket expenses is credited to your ExtraCare account. You also earn 1 Extra Buck (ECB) for every 2 prescriptions purchased. This "money" is printed at the end of your receipt once every quarter.

Q: What are ECB's?
A: An ECB is an ExtraCare Buck. This is CVS money that prints out at the end of your receipt when you purchase certain items or for your quarterly earnings. This is like cash, so you don't want to lose it! ExtraCare Bucks are good on your NEXT purchase. "Roll" your ECB's to purchase the same item over and over until you reach the limit. This way you are spending very little to nothing out of pocket.

Q: Does CVS issue Rainchecks if they are out of an item?
A: Yes. Simply ask your cashier or store manager for a raincheck on the item. If the item included an ECB deal, be sure to ask you cashier to write down the ECB code found in that week's circular. You will be able to purchase the item when it returns in-stock and still receive the ECB.

Be sure to check out my weekly post every Saturday for the
"Best Of" CVS Deals
for the upcoming week. This is a must before you head out to shop!


Anonymous said...

So, for instance, on the 5/1-5/7 CVS toothpaste Freebie - it says it's 2.77 but you use a EB for 2.77 so it's free - do I have to purchase this toothpaste then it will print me out a 2.77 EB then I can buy another one for free? I've never shopped at CVS so I'm not sure how this process works. Thanks for your help!

Steph said...

Anon ~

Yes, you purchase one at the $2.77 (use any coupons that match the item), and at the end of your receipt, you'll find $2.77 in extra bucks (EB). You can then use the $2.77 EB toward a 2nd tube of toothpaste and you won't pay anything (except tax). Another $2.77 EB will print out for your 2nd purchase as well. You can do this until you reach the limit. In this case there is a limit of 2. I hope this helps! Once you get the hang of it, it gets much easier to process the deals.


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